THE DRUMS ARE beating around the council fires of Doubleday, and their message is: Hanta Yo (see N. Scott Momaday's review, page 1) is making big medicine. By my translation, that means: money. The 834-page historical novel of Sioux life, 1750-1835, has, at this writing some 70,000 copies in print, in three printings. Foreign language rights have been sold to Holland, Sweden, France, England, Japan, Spain and, in a six-figure sale, to Germany. It is a book-of-the-Month Club Featured Alternate, and is scheduled to be a mini-series for ABC, purchased by David Wolper/Warner Bros. That's the same production company that did Roots , and, in fact, Hanta Yo is walking in Roots ' moccasins. The novel was submitted to Lisa Drew at Doubleday, Roots ' editor. Since the mighty success of the Alex Haley novel, Drew had been wading unhappily through dozens of ethnic sagas, every one of them claiming to be Son of Roots . But Ruth Beebe Hill's manuscript, 25-years in the research and writing, fired her attention, and Hanta Yo is now being touted as Roots ' worthy successor. There is already a $200,000 floor bid on the reprint rights; no paperback auction date has been set so far; it ought to go for a lot more than the floor. But who could begrudge a lot of money to somebody who has worked a quarter of a century to earn it?